(POCATELLA, Idaho) — An Idaho lunch lady who said she was fired for giving a free meal to a hungry student lacking money to pay is now being offered her job back, according to the school district.
Darlene Bowden first made headlines after she publicly posted a photo to her Facebook page on Dec. 19 of what appeared to be a notice of termination sent to her by the human resources director for Pocatello/Chubbuck School District No. 25.
“I was a lunch lady at Irving Middle School,” Bowden, 51, explained on a GoFundMe page she set up for herself. “I was placed on unpaid leave Tuesday after I gave a free lunch to a 12-year-old student who didn’t have money to pay for her hot lunch …. what do you do when the kid tells you that they’re hungry, and they don’t have any money? I handed her the tray.”
According to the apparent notice of termination Bowden posted to Facebook, she was fired due to “theft-stealing [the] school district or another’s property and inaccurate transactions when ordering, receiving and serving food.”
After tens of thousands of people signed an online petition asking the school district to reinstate Bowden, the school district released a statement Wednesday night, announcing, “In the spirit of the holidays, Superintendent [Doug] Howell advises that the District has been in communication with Ms. Bowden extending an opportunity for her to return to employment with the District.”
It was not immediately clear if Bowden accepted the district’s invitation to return back to work. Bowden and the school district did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for additional comment.
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